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Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer

News/Business. (2012) (CC) (Stereo)

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480

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Us 16, Jack Welch 7, Eliot 6, Romney 5, Eliot Spitzer 4, Memphis 4, Paul Ryan 3, Vo 3, Europe 3, Ben White 2, Jack 2, Mitt Romney 2, Bls 2, Neil Barofsky 2, G.e. 2, Richard Nixon 2, Salem 2, Obama 2, Pennsylvania 2, Chicago 2,
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  Current    Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer    News/Business.   
   (2012)  (CC) (Stereo)  

    October 5, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00pm PDT  

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oh, [ censor bleep ]. >> and that's where we are today. i'm done talking now. >> jennifer: all right. everybody thanks for joining us in "the war room." 32 days until the election and we will see you here on monday. >> eliot: good evening, i'm eliot spitzer, and this is "viewpoint." the september jobs report is in. and the numbers are better than expected. way better. the unemployment rate below 8% for the first time since january 2009. it's good news for president obama, after his underwhelming performance in wednesday' debate. and bad news for mitt romney, and his conspiracy-minded supporters on the republican right. more on that in a moment. according to the bureau of labor statistics, unemployment dropped to 7.8% last month down .3 of a percent since august. employers added 114,000 new
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jobs. including 104 in the private sector and 10,000 in the public sector which had seen months of steady decline. in july's number revised to 181,000 with an additional 40,000 new jobs. president obama shared the news with a cheering crowd at a campaign appearance in fairfax virginia. >> obama: this morning we found out that the unemployment rate had fallen to its lowest level since i office. but today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points. it's a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now. >> eliot: not if you're mitt romney. the g.o.p. contender talked down the jobs numbers and the economy at an abingdon, virginia, rally. >> romney: there were fewer new jobs created this month than last month. the unemployment rate as you
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noted this year has come down very, very slowly. the reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work. >> eliot: mitt just can't stand good news on the economy, and neither can his friends on the right, including knocks fuss anchor stuart varney who suspect politics were behind the jobs numbers. >> oh how convenient that the rate dropped below 8% for the in 43 months five weeks before the election. >> eliot: unbelievable jobs numbers, these guys will do anything. can't debate so change numbers. tweeting in regards to today's jobs report, i agree with jack welch, chicago style politics is at work here. more about jack welch and g.e. and accurate numbers more in
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this show later. we have an interview with cnbc. >> we have a very professional civil service organization where you have top, top economists that work at the bls. it's really ludicrous to hear that kind of statement. >> eliot: and the always wise economic adviser had this message for jack welch. i quote love you jack, but here you've lost your mind. what a coincidence joining me now is austan goolsbee, former chairman of president obama's council of economic visors. conspiracy theories running wild, and how you generate them. what is your take on this. >> okay, the numbers come from iron fortress, somewhere in the bls. it's absolutely and totally ridiculous to say some how some
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political people changed the numbers in bls. it makes no sense whatsoever. look i'm friends with jack welch. he's a great guy. i have no idea what he's talking about. this is birtherrest crazy stuff. i don't know how you get--the same people saying that it's outrageous that the survey showed a lot more jobs than expected this month said nothing when the same survey last month showed far fewer than expected jobs. so normally as i say every and as you know i've said it on this show many times. never take one month's numbers to be representative because they're highly variable. but if you look over several months you get a lot better sense of how things are going and things are improving moderately because the growth rate has been modest. it's faster here than in most all over parts of the advanced world, but this is the only way
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you do it. you got to grow your way out of it, and there has been progress, and it's fairly hard to deny that. >> eliot: look, at the macro-level what you said is incredibly important. we're growing at a slow pitter. but unfortunately we're the engine of growth in these unhappy affairs. this notion that there is a conspiracy or fabricated set of data is going to get legs because there is such a huge political imperative on the other side to perpetuate the myth. we'll have to generate birth certificate for everyone who works at the bls this week. >> that's absolutely right. >> eliot: there are two different surveys done. give us a sense of what they are, and why they are there are two. give us the order of magnitude of what's done. >> okay, so they--the survey that gives you the payroll number of how many jobs are created comes from a survey of
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businesses. that's the establishment survey. they call up people and say how many people did you hire this month. they add all that up. there are thousands of businesses. then the household businesses, they call up people, tens of thousands of people every month and ask them. have you been looking for work? do you have a job? are you working part time? it asks things about the labor force which you could not get from the employer, you would have to ask the people. in that survey of people they also many jobs are created. the number of jobs created in the household survey moves around even more than the number moves around for establishments. and the number for establish ams has a margin of error for 100,000 a month. people don't understand, i don't think, that these numbers are highly variable. last month there was a huge negative number for employment
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growth in the household survey. this month there is a huge positive number and that's why the unemployment rate came down. the conspiracy theorists coming in and saying the establishment number is 115,000 how can that explain how the unemployment rates go down. that's not the same survey. s not calculated that from other number. there's nothing weird about it. it's just a survey. >> eliot: that comes back to your point and i have to give you credit as i always talk about these numbers, you say don't look at one data point. look at a multi--month average. >> right. >> eliot: it evens out and smooths out and then you get a trendline and that's what is important in economics much more than any individual data point. if you compare the household survey and establishment survey you see as a business insider. go to the website there is a
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chart. it shows people that the household survey is much more variable than the establishment survey. it's spikeyer, but over time the two move in the same direction and the trend lines converge. that's the important point here. >> exactly. the unemployment rate--remember a year and a half ago the unemployment point fell .4 of a point in a single month and then .4 of a point in the next month. people said this was a total fluke. it wasn't a fluke. we're making progress, and it has spikes up and down but take a step back and look over a year and a half what has happened? a lot of jobs have been added and the unemployment rate comes down. it should come down faster, but to say that there is a conspiracy and really the unemployment rate has not come down is just completely nuts. >> eliot: to remove us from the world of crazy, it's only going to get worse between now and
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november, but let's have a rational conversation about economics. are we moving in the right direction? and if so why. what are the aggregate forces coming to bear that are begin beginning to see a little bit of life in the private sector, and is it enough to overcome what is happening in europe and increasingly china, which are becoming stones around our neck. >> look, those are two of the most fundamentally important issues facing the economy. i think the things you've got going in favor have led to the direction at least being correction. we would like it to be a lot faster are we've been through a period with very little housing construction housing market has been falling and in a lot of markets it has finally turned the corner, and you're starting to see come back on that side. number two, a lot of households have finished deleveraging themselves, and they have a
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reasonable savings rate, and are back into the market with their income feeling more score about their income since consumption has returned. the third is that export and investment in the u.s. has grown quite a lot. the thing dragging us down has tended to be fear about the world economy and about the possibility of another financial crisis. and there's no way to get around that. as you said in many ways we've become the engine of growth for the entire developed world, and we're not growing that fast. so we're not getting any boosts outside of our borders, and that's just an have to carry with us. >> very quickly you saw mitt romney the 18th reiteration of what mitt romney is, who knows what his policies would be if he were to become president. would his policies help or hurt in the regeneration of our economy as you're seeing. >> well, i think in the short run he has advocateed a pretty significant crushing of the
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investments, and i think they are fairly important on getting the economy growing in the short run. it's not just me. you've had objecttive forecasters saying if you enacted his policy they might lead to a loss of something like 700,000 jobs compared to what would otherwise would be over the next 12 months. i think at least in the short run and probably in the longer run it bears of deeper examination, let's say about what he's talking about and the impact it would have. >> eliot: i view you as an objective predictor as well, you get the numbers accurate than anybody else i speak you figure out what next month's jobs numbers are going to be, give us a call and we'll give you full credit. autan goolsbee, thank you for joining us today. next breaking down the
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(vo) what is said here could decide the election. current tv presents coverage of the vice presidential debate. with unrivaled analysis and commentary. >> the idea that he could criticize the president on the down grading, when he led the charge to block a resolution. outrageous. (vo) the only network with real-time reaction straight from the campaigns and from viewers like you. >>now that's politically direct.
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>> eliot: the jobs numbers are in, and they're good for the country and president obama, not so for mitt romney and the g.o.p. unemployment is down below 8% for the in 43 months. some republicans are claiming the numbers were manipulated to benefit the president. a ridiculous suggestion at best if you know how the process works. joining me now for that and the rest of the political implications of today's jobs report.
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neil barofsky, the former special inspector general for trouble asset relief program and author of "bailout: an inside account of how washington abandoned main street while rescuing wall street." and politico morningen money economy reporter ben white. you were inspector general at the treasury department, did anyone ever credibly allege that numbers like this could be or would be tampered with? >> certain numbers can be spun, manipulated and certainly the political officials at the treasury department did their best to make numbers look better than they did that's cagey accounting. but here suggesting that literally dozens of career civil servants oh who are not affiliated with one political party or another, putting their careers
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in jeopardy to fix a fundamental number, that's not realistic. >> eliot: i'm brought to donald rumsfeld, and you subscribe to this good numbers and bad numbers, and that's the economy. >> good numbers bad numbers and this is a very--a number that moves around a lot. particularly in the household survey. it will swing up and down and that happens. the idea that this is manipulated ridiculous, it's impossible for it to be done and if they're going to do it, it's not going to be done in this way. >> eliot: it was jack welch who set the world on fire. people listen to jack. he's a respected manager and
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ceo. people are saying if he's saying this maybe there is something to it. but the last time there was anything suggested was richard nixon. he perhaps wanted to do it but couldn't do it either. >> that's interesting richard nixon and jack welch have a little experience in manipulating things. jack had his own problems at g.e. and manipulating numbers. maybe that's why they ascribe to these conspiracy theories. maybe that's what an executive does in jack welch's mind. >> eliot: and they were smoothing over the numbers quarter to quarter to hit the analyst's projection because that's what the stock market wanted some smart dodgy accounting to put positive spin on it from his perspective got him the results he wanted. he said hey the president must be able to do the same thing but i don't think he can. >> let's look at the survey. it's a big jump of jobs in part
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time work. if you're going to fix the numbers you're not going to say there are temporary workers who got a job in one month. you wouldn't do it. this is a big adjustment and it may go down. >> eliot: let's go back to reality and plant it and leave the conspiracy and la la land aside. the numbers themselves, good but at some level if you take the 114,000 job created figure from the establishment survey, negative 14,000, a loss, in other words, in manufacturing which is not a good number. >> no, the numbers are not great. this is another month where somewhere between 100,000 and $200,000 to bring the unemployment rate, which is what is happening. there is a drop in the manufacturing number, and the ready not great jobs. they're not jobs paid very highly. that's what mitt romney talked about. it's decent growth, not great growth and that's the jobs that we want. >> eliot: and the arc that the president wanted to talk about
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was manufacturing jobs increasing in the past couple of years because we like to build things. the question of who builds it another context in another political debate, it's up 44,000. if you talk about percentage of gdp and healthcare, this is a number we want to come down, this is a number motiving in the wrong way what do we make of this. >> it confirms what we knew for a while. we're in an anemic recovery, a fragile recovery. it's good but it does not change wherethe depressed place where many americans are. nobody thinks that president obama is going to steal an election on trumpeting unemployment. it is still a high number. and it forces the administration that will be leveled against him. >> eliot: let's talk politics. wednesday night mitt romney had the best day of his campaign.
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head to head against the president, and the president was not performing up to par not what we expect of him as a communicator, what we expect, articulating is what he's all about. suddenly the winds have been taken out of the sails of mitt romney a little bit, the data, the real data, there are so many things that ever three of us do is not there to substantiate his claim. what can he now do to say i really do have an engine of growth that i am going to start. >> he can't use that 8.1%, it matters a little bit. what he said today is what he'll continue to say. it's not good enough, fast enough and there are a few things that i think i can do to make it grow faster. but it's harder to make the case that obama has failed entirely on the economy when obviously we're at better place creating jobs, 5 million jobs since we hit the bottom. his policies are having impact and things are improving, that romney now has to go back and if we close more taxes and close
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loopholes and do things that i think we should do, it will the economy will grow faster. >> eliot: in terms of europe where the austerity approach it getting the biggest macro-approach in history and driving rates up across southern europe and budget deficits that are getting worse and worse. i don't see where mitt romney's argument has traction. it seems to me that the stimulus of the policy, traditional economics that barack obama has followed it seems to be working. neil, what am i missing here? >> romney has a point. things could be better. i don't know if they could have been made better, and that stimulus should have been bigger and if it has to do with the problems in the houseing market. there is a big target on the back of obama because of failed
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housing. there are not that many new arguments that romney can hang his hat on but that's an area that we have not seen exploited. >> i think you're right. if there has been one enormous failure policy, it's the mortgage and the number of homeowners who are underwater, meaning that their they owe more than the value of their house. mitt romney does not talk about that because his answer is none existent. >> you have these made up controversies because they're so close on many of the issues that we have to find things like sesame street dr. seuss. >> going to war against big bird is more fun than talking talk about mortgage relief. right neil barofsky, and ben white, great to have you on
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the program. the (vo) cenk uygur is many things. >>oh really? >>tax cuts don't create jobs. the golden years as the conservatives call them, we had the highest tax rates, and the highest amount of growth, and the highest amount of jobs. those are facts. >>"if you ever raise taxes on the rich, you're going to destroy our economy." not true! if you have an opinion, you better back it up. >>eliot spitzer takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now.
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>> eliot: if you want to lower the abortion rate there is an effective way to do it without changing the law. you can see it in our number of the day 61% that's how much birth rate fell when birth control was given away for free. this came out of a study by washington university, 9,000 women, many of whom were poor and uninsured were offered contraceptives without cost. most got iuds or other implants which are the most effective option and usually quite expensive. but the drop in pregnancy more than made up in the expense. that is good news. we may soon see similar results across the country. the president's affordable care act gives access to contraceptive. if you're home of the brave.
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♪ ♪ it's where fear goes unwelcomed... ♪ ♪ and certain men... find a way to rise above. this is the land of giants. ♪ ♪ guts. glory. ram.
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>> eliot: coming up, was wednesday night the best etch-a-sketch yet? but first people have been clamoring for t and now it's here. the musical mash up. when it doesn't fit anywhere else, we put it in the viewfinder. [ ♪ music ♪ ] [ ♪ music ♪ ] [ ♪ music ♪ ]
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[ ♪ music ♪ ] [ ♪ music ♪ ] [ ♪ music ♪ ] [ ♪ music ♪ ] >> i still like the play list on my ipod better yours. >> eliot: we might miss this
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campaign when it's over. we saw a new mitt romney on wednesday night. again, how many mitt romneys are ther
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>> eliot: is it mitt romney 8.0 or 9.0 the etch-a-sketch has been shaken so many times it's hard to keep track. mitt romney seemed to oppose every principle he had been campaigning on thus far. but apparently mitt's transformation has continued. last night romney continued to remove himself from a quotings sour fog this time disavowing his comment that 47% of the country is compromised of moochers. >> romney: well, clearly in a campaign of thousands of sessions you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. in this case i came out somethingsaid somethingthat came out
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wrong. >> eliot: the largest single molly haul for either candidate this election cycle. for more, let's go to katrina vanden hovel, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you eliot. >> eliot: what is mitt romney? this meese of a fog. he stands for absolutely nothing. >> well, he's reinventing himself as fast as he can. he's fleeing from the man of up for the nomination for tax cuts for the richest and callousness for the47%. the duck and cover the duck and cover that we see is an awareness on the part of the romney-ryan team that their programs are not popular with the american people. they're fudging as fast as they can. >> eliot: let's talk politician. you're right. he began as a moderate governor who knows what
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in his heart of hearts, none of us can really know. he moves so far right to the primary season then amazed everyone when he chose paul ryan as number two. that was signing an oath of allegiance to the far right. that was not going to work and then he swings back to the middle. why did it take him this long to realize this? >> the republican party has many factions and fractions. they're losing and they're coming back for this election. mitt romney is a vehicle. you pointed out obama's hall in the money front. i read that romney is hauling in for the debate. he wants deregulation and benefits for the .01%. you're seeing that happen, and the tea party is willing to sit back and be quiet because they want to a winning candidate.
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>> eliot: they've made a fundamental pragmatic decision as they saw the campaign slipping away from them. >> we've seen this before in the republican party where you have a candidate who may not pay allegiance lip service to the movement conservatives, the movement right, the movement extremists but they want to win. you know what i think? i think we play an important role the media--not left will be right but accountability truth-telling, watchdog media needs to make clear to the american people what mitt romney and paul ryan's policies are on medicare healthcare. >> eliot: i think all that have is correct. but it runs a little deeper than that. there is a basic goodness to the american public. a sense of where mitt romney was going in the convection, the 47% video which incapsulated everything that the public didn't like. the public woke up and they ran away from him. >> the video reinforced what people felt in their gut.
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he was a man of the 1%, and didn't feel for the americans. key, they want to make this on mitt romney, bain, and a man who has offshore--no, he wants to make this a referendum on obama's record. you're going to see that play out. it was trending toward becoming a referendum on mitt romney, the gilded age extremist. >> eliot: which was an easy win-- >> easier. >> eliot: until mitt romney succeeded with another etch-a-sketch. >> we are not sure which way it will go. president obama has a lot of small donors and he has called for public funding and overturning citizens united. the ads on the ground are mitt romney bain capital and offshoring. >> eliot: the question in my mind is the mitt romney who projected very well wednesday
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night as someone who has been in those debates. >> a theater critic. he projected well, but the substance is what we need to drive home. >> eliot: katrina, absolutely right. but as a critic will the audience continue to show up for him? will the audience respond to that performance. >> president obama was disengaged. missed opportunities. he has a record of coming back, for example, in 2008 came out in pennsylvania. miserable debate, came roaring back. but again you have to pay attention to the tub substance. mitt romney and his partner paul ryan, not his wife, will gut medicare. they have no answer how they're going to do a revenue-neutral budget i know i'm politics orened but you have to mesh-- >> eliot: it's the lack of recreation that will permit the vineyard to be shattered. that's what troubled us watching president obama.
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let's jump ahead, and some of my friends get angry when this. but i think this campaign will be a nice solid win for president obama. i want to project to the second term. i know-- >> no complacency. >> eliot: all caveats aside. >> i think a better direction and no complacency. >> eliot: that's exactly right. the pennsylvania voting i.d. structure top texas struck down. the courts are doing something hugely important. the rule of law is being established as a foundation piece of the electoral process once again. >> that is important. >> eliot: back to my question. second term you have been critical of president obama on issues of civil liberties foreign policies, where do you see him going? >> on that front we have an editorial in our last issue. i would call it the election editorial but we do say reelect president obama. because the stakes are too high.
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but the forward movement, we saw gay rights. we need to stand up and say we're not secure with the escalation of drone wars or violation of civil liberties. there has to be a movement from people. i'm worried about austerity issues that you raised. you can look at europe, but if you see balancing the budget which i believe is not the short term objective. it shouldic to end joblessness in this country. you will see the balancing of the budget on the backs of working class people, the poor, who have had to bear the suffering of wall street and have not shared in a recovery which is slim but beginning. >> eliot: what you're saying is hugely important. i'm fearful right after the election there will there there will be institutional pressure to solve the fiscal cliff and what they see is the looming deficit that that suddenly all the entitlement programs will be on
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the table. >> and gives us back in let's be pragmatic, a recession or we're slowly coming out of. but i'm worried about the secret dark money. it may move from the presidential into the congressional races which are key to the second term. >> eliot: we've been focusing on the senate for precisely that reason. we'll have to have that discussion some other even. katrina vanden hovel, thank you for coming in this evening. i talked to damian echols, one of the west memphis three, who spent 18 years on death row for murders did he not commit. that interview coming up. [ ♪ music ♪ ]
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>> eliot: not every is happy about today's job news. witness the absurd paranoia about all those pesky facts and their darned liberal bias. that's ahead on my view. and later tonight in "the war room," governor jennifer granholm will have more on today's job numbers with cal
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berkeley's laura tyson and san francisco chronicle's karla (vo) what is said here could decide the election. current tv presents coverage of the vice presidential debate. with unrivaled analysis and commentary. >> the idea that he could criticize the president on the down grading, when he led the charge to block a resolution. outrageous. (vo) the only network with real-time reaction straight from the campaigns and from viewers like you. >>now that's politically direct. >> eliot: anything but good news. that could be the mantra of the republican party right now hoping for gloom and doom from now until november 6th. keep up the flow of negative news that will reinforce the desire they desperately hope for mitt's magic wanted to replace the hand of president obama at the tiller of the ship of state.
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so it must have been devastating to see a good jobs report, the 31st straight month of private sector job growth, bringing the total number of private sector jobs under president obama over 4.6 million and the unemployment rate dropping .3 of a point to 7.8%. the rate is now below when the president took over when the george w. bush cataclysm was gaining steam. shouldn't we all be overjoyed? not if you're hyper partisan voice of corporate plutocacy like jack welch who tweeted out the following message. unbelievable jobs numbers these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so change numbers. come on, jack. the notion of the department of labor plays games with these numbers for political reasons is silly ludicrous, and insulting to government workers who have reported news, good and bad faithfully for many decades.
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it strikes me, jack, that there have been a few more cases of corporate gamesmanship with financial numbers than cases where the government was not honest in the past few years. in fact, didn't your company g.e. have an accounting issue led to a big sec settlement not so long ago? now that you've made this outlandish claim, where is your proof, your evidence, the facts to substantiate you're certification, or is it just a partisan screed? you might remember when my office charged ge then under your leadership with a range of i am preprity we had the proof and the judge forced you to take out a full-page add admitted to your i don't think doing. the key jack, the evidence and facts. but more importantly why should anybody be surprised that we're finally digging out of the trough? i know the corporate titans want to believe that until their taxes are cut to zero nothing
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good will happen. but here is the thing. over the past four years the steady effort at keynesian stimulus monetary police has cut interest rates to near zero. romney thinks he can solve our fiscal problems by firing big bird, the white house is focusing on a jobs agenda, and thankfully so. that's my view.
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our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers.
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you disgust me. prove it. enough is enough. d-con baits are specially formulated to kill in one feeding. guaranteed. d-con. get out. >> eliot: in 1993 three children were brew it wily murdered in the woods of west memphis arkansas. three local teenagers later to become known as the west memphis three were arrested for the
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crime. based on the forced confession of one of these teen, a mentally handicapped young man along with the fact that the teens wore black and listened to heavy metal music, a community looking for vengeance convicted them. the three would serve 18 years in prison before released last august after signing an alford plea, a feigned at mission of guilt that allowed the defendants to maintain their innocence but prevented them from suing the state for wrongful conviction. earlier this week i had a chance to speak to one of the west memphis three damien echolss who served his entire 18 years on death row. this is a tale of horror, thank you for joining us. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i just feel like--where did it go wrong? you lived a horror tale of one error after another. take us through where were the errors?
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the police, the judge, the prosecutors, did they compile one on top of the other? >> absolutely. after the balance started rolling no one wanted to admit that they made a mistake. even when dna evidence started to come back in that said me and the other two guys were never at the crime scene and it found that the dna matched two other men, they said that's not good enough, we're going to keep maintaining this conviction. no one wanted to admit that they had messed up. >> eliot: it seems when you look back it was just this blood thirst for vengeance after a horrific crime and you were the easy person to charge and point the finger at. how about the local media. was there anybody in the media--i'm not looking for blame, but did anyone stand up and say step back and examine this. >> not for a long, long time. in the beginning it was like a media feeding frenzy. every day when the news came on you would hear the stories
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reported of satanic rituals and/orgies, where they were stirring the community into an absolute frenzy, trying to make it as sensational as they possibly could. it was years down the road when new witnesses started coming forward, new dna evidence started coming out then they started to accurately report what was happening. but until then they made it as sensational as possible so that by the time we walked into the courtroom by that point the trial was just a formality that they had to go through in order to sentence us. >> eliot: i have looked, and i have not delved into this as many people have, but when you look at the evidence, it was non-existence there was one coerced confession which did not hold up under scrutiny at all. did your lawyers give you real representation? were they skilled in death penalty cases? did they have the skills needed to put on a new defense for you? >> absolutely not. we had these attorneys that had never dealt with a capital murder case. they didn't have experience,
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they didn't know what they were doing, severely underfunded. also, you know they came from a really small tight-knit community where they had to work with the same judge and same prosecutors on a daily basis. they didn't want to risk pushing too hard because to them this was just one case. they knew they were going to a have to come back and work with these same people daily basis, and didn't want to do anything that would make them angry. >> eliot: every bit of social pressure came down. you were just a small gear in a much larger system, and nobody really cared. until fortunately you got a movie that was made, and some people who were far away by happenstance in their enormous credit decided to take a hard look at this without that, what would have happened? >> oh, they would have murdered me. the state would have gotten away with murdering me. the only reason they even--that i'm sitting here now is because the pressure became too great. there was too much of a public
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outcry and they knew it would cost them if they didn't do something in this case. really, they would have murdered me and never lost a night sleep over it if not for that. >> eliot: tell us briefly if you can a bit--give us a sense of what life was like in prison? >> it's a hell beyond anything i could even begin articulate. you know, it's a regular occurrence in there. you have beatings, starvation, torture. it's something that scars you for the rest of your life. you never ever get over it. you know, i'll probably spend the rest of my life trying to recover from this. >> eliot: did you give up faith and hope? you lived through what we read about when they wrote about the gulag in russia. did you give up faith at any point? >> i lost all faith and all belief in the system, but what i didn't lose faith or belief in were the people who would write
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to me on a bailey basis and people who would spread the word on websites and wearing free the west memphis three t-shirts. doing everything they could to raise awareness to raise the money that we needed to get forensic testing to be done. this situation that we went through completely robbed me of faith in the >> eliot: you can't argue against your conclusion. the alford plea that you took. there is a certain paradox there, you're feigned pleading to something, and everyone knows that is a formality. the state woke up and said we can't prove the case. we're not going to go through retrial, and that woke them up. did that cause psychological tension for you, i don't want to give them anything at all and they should confess their error. >> absolutely it did. at the same time i knew they could drag this case out another five years ten years constantly appealing decisions, asking for extensions, things like that. i didn't have that long.
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my health was defer rating rapidly. the day i walked out of prison i weighed 67 pounds less than i do now. i was going blind and i had many health problems. not only that, the prosecutor said one of his consideration was the fact that we could all have collectively sued the state for $60 million. i knew i could be stabbed to death pack of cigarettes any day of the week in prison. it happens all the time. i knew if i didn't take the deal i would not live to leave the outside of those walls. >> eliot: you gave up the right to sue the state? >> exactly. that was their very first question. would i sign an agreement saying i gave up all rights to sue the state of arkansas. >> eliot: let me get this right. you were wrongfully convicted put on death row and then you have to give up your right to sue the state to get out. >> that's what it all comes down to. >> eliot: i think it's fair to say that you would lose faith in the system after that number quickly tell us what life has
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been like since you got out. you look and sound great compared to where you were obviously. how has it been? >> it's been rough. i was in solitary confinement for almost the last decade that i was in so get out here there is a lot of adjustment. for the first two or three months i was in complete shock and trauma. it has taken me a long time to come out of that and learn to navigate my way through society. >> eliot: you're living up in boston? >> salem yes right outside of boston. >> eliot: i don't want to draw any metaphors but salem, that's where they used to have the witch-hunt. >> that has given them a tolerance. they don't want to make the same mistakes as before. >> eliot: if you think that we can learn from history, then you have not given up on hope and humanity after all you've been through. thank you for joining us. good luck. man, you are a testament to perseverance and faith. >> thank you so much for having me. >> eliot: damian and the other members of the west memphis three continue to fight for their full exoneration
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